Commercial tenancy laws under review

The laws which govern commercial tenancy agreements between small retailers and landlords, including shopping centre owners, are being reviewed by the State Government with businesses encouraged to provide feedback.

A discussion paper has been released that looks at various issues which may require the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act to be updated.

 

Consumer Protection will consult with retailers, industry groups and the public to identify emerging issues and look at options for change before final decisions are made.

Issues under consideration include but are not limited to:

  • the statutory right to a five-year lease term;
  • rent review rules;
  • access to lease information;
  • full disclosure of operating costs such as utility charges, early termination and end of lease rights; and
  • unconscionable or unfair conduct.

The consultation paper also asks about any changes that may be required based on the impact of COVID-19.

Currently, the laws only cover small shops operating in shopping centres or shops situated outside of shopping centres that mainly sell goods. The review will look at whether the Act should be expanded to protect other small businesses including those outside of a shopping centre that provide services such as travel, real estate or watch/bike repairs.

The Act provides for dispute resolution through the Small Business Commissioner and State Administrative Tribunal and feedback is being sought as to the effectiveness of this process.

“It’s vital for the WA economy that we have a strong and vibrant retail sector with fair and transparent tenancy agreements an important element. For this reason, I would urge industry participants and interested parties to take part in this public consultation,” Commerce Minister Roger Cook said.

He added: “This review is the beginning of a process that aims to achieve the best laws possible to safeguard the viability of the industry for both retail tenants and landlords, now and in the future.”

The consultation paper can be viewed or downloaded via the Consumer Protection website.

Submissions close Monday, August 8, 2022.

For general advice and guidance, contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com.

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